?Cyana, oil palm, PNG Minimize

March 2010. A request for the identification of a moth, whose larvae was collected from oil palm in Papua New Guinea.


There is nothing matching either in the Moths of Borneo 7 Arctiidae, Lithosiinae (Holloway, 2001) or Moths of Australia (Common, 1990), which are the closest regional works available.

However, the note on the cocoon sounds like it may be related to the genus Cyana, (subtribe Nudariina) which use long setae from the larva to make a "fishnet" lattice cocoon, quite similar to that of (but much larger than) the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella. In Common (1990), the closest in general appearance is Cyana (=Chionaema) meyricki, but this species has a smaller yellow basal area on the hindwing and a uniform dark muddy orange forewing. 

There is a list of the Lithosiini (as Lithosiinae) from New Guinea on the Papua Insects Foundation website at http://www.papua-insects.nl/insect%20orders/Lepidoptera/Arctiidae/Arctiidae%20list.htm#Lithosiinae - which has 18 species of Cyana listed. The HOSTS database seems to be down at the moment, (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/research/projects/hostplants/) otherwise I'd check it for any association between Cyana and oil palms.

The question was asked whether there are lichens on the palms. Most larvae of lithosiine moths are grazers of lichens.

Another suggestion question asked was whether slug caterpillars were found on the oil palms. The photo appears to be the adult of Darna catenatus. However, the colour seems to be darker compared to Indian specimens.